The Bone Marrow Registry Nigeria (BMRN) has called on Nigerians who are healthy and between the age of 18 and 45 years to register as potential stem cell donors for a patient suffering from blood cancer.
The registry said in a statement issued by Mr Runcie Chidebe, a cancer advocate, on Thursday in Abuja that potential donors must also weigh more than 50kgs and have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of less than 40.
It said that finding a stem cell donor for Mrs Ada Florian Astrid, a mother of two children currently suffering from blood cancer, was her only chance of surviving the life threatening condition.
The registry said that the chance of finding a matching donor for Astrid, who is of Nigerian-German descent, was very low.
According to the registry, this factor has pushed the registry to collaborate with Project PINK BLUE, an NGO, to carry out donor registration events across Nigeria.
BMRN assured that the registration was quick and easy lasting less than 10 minutes, adding that the process is painless and at no cost to anyone who signed up.
“Astrid suffers from blood cancer. A stem cell transplant is her only chance of survival. Anyone who is healthy between 18 and 45 years can help by registering as a potential stem cell donor.“At the end of September 2018, Astrid went to the doctor for a sore throat. The doctor prescribed rest and medication but over the weekend her condition worsened.
“She had her blood tested and with the results she was diagnosed with blood cancer.
“Astrid immediately started chemotherapy in order to have hope of life; the mother of two sons urgently needs a matching stem cell donor.
“However, the search for her generic twin is very difficult. The chance of finding this match is 1 to 100,000, and the best chance of a match is within your same ethnic background.
“There is only a 25 per cent chance that a sibling will be a match; the remaining 75 per cent chance depends on an unrelated matching donor being found.
“If you are interested in registering, please refrain from consuming any food, beverages and chewing gum an hour before coming to register.
“The registration will take place on May 11 at GIZ Office, 592 Idejo Street, Victoria Island, Lagos,” the statement read in part.
The BMRN said that the registration would last from 11 a.m to 4 p.m, explaining that donors will only need to fill out consent forms and a cheek swap would be taken using cotton swabs.
It described a blood stem cell transplant as a procedure where a person’s defective cell in the bone marrow is replaced by healthy ones from a donor.
It quoted Astrid as saying: “More people of mixed origin need to be motivated to register as donors as blood cancer can affect anyone.
“Because of my generic makeup, my chance of finding a matching donor is more difficult.’’
The registry said that potential donors could sign up on http://bit.ly/HelpAstridLagos, adding that individuals who registered before did not need to do again as their data was available to patients worldwide.
It emphasised that Astrid urgently needs the support of the entire population to register as potential donors for her and other individuals living with blood cancer.